Eight hours with the Nook

Posted: 2009-12-19 in Reviews
Tags: ,

  • The nook is a version 1.0 gadget; it’s not perfect and is not a Kindle killer (yet).
  • Page-turning and interface speed is slow compared to the Kindle and very slow compared to the iPhone.
  • Adding your own screensavers and wallpapers is easy and provides a great way to customize your device.
  • Ability to change the font is awesome.  My personal favorite is Helvetica neue.
  • Sub-par dictionary for a device intended for reading by adults.
Background:  My wife bought me a Kindle 2 for my birthday.  About two days later the nook was announced.  I purchased Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and read the entire book on the  Kindle.  I really did not like the user interface.  It felt very kludgy to me.  I returned it and pre-ordered a nook.  I thought the touch screen and virtual keyboard would be a much better way to navigate than the Kindle’s joystick and dedicated keyboard.

My nook arrived today.  I’ve used it for about eight hours now.  Below are my initial thoughts.

Packaging:  Very nice; apple-like.  Packaging requires instructions to remove (seriously) and are included.

Screen: Just like the Kindle 2.  Clear, crisp, easy to read.

Software version: 1.0.0 (no update available yet)

Page-turning:   Slower than the Kindle; it’s noticeable too.  I like the page-turning buttons on the nook better.

Size:  The nook is smaller (height and width) than the Kindle but slightly thicker.  I actually prefer the extra thickness as it is easier to hold in your hand.

Touch Screen:  If you are an iPhone user like me, you are going to be disappointed.  The touch screen has a significant flash-to-bang lag.  I am hoping that a software update will fix it.  Neither my wife, nor I have been able to get the “swipe to turn the page” feature to work.

User Manual:  I had some trouble finding the user manual on the nook.  It is there but it is not in your Library.  It’s in your “My Documents” folder along with the nook tour.

Fonts:  You can change the font of EVERYTHING.  It is nice to read in Helvetica neue!

Dictionary: Merriam Webster’s POCKET dictionary (40,000 words).  WTF?  A Junior High School dictionary for an adult reading device.  The Kindle gives you The New Oxford American Dictionary (250,000 words).  Also, you can’t access the dictionary directly.  It is not in my library nor my documents.  If it resides somewhere else, please let me know.  Looking up a word beyond the third grade level will result with “Definition not found.”  Definitions for words such as newspapers, logo, resolution, Americans, and Republicans were not found by the dictionary.  Interestingly enough, a definition for Democrat was found.

Time:  You can select 12-hour or 24-hour time.  I prefer 24-hour time and set my nook accordingly.  Unfortunately, “The Daily” still shows the time in 12-hour time with AM/PM.

Storage: Of the 2GB on board, only 1.3GB is available for storage.  I purchased an 8GB Class 6 microSDHC card on amazon for $21.39. It’s not a “name-brand” but I can attest that it works very well and transfer speeds are fast! I’ve included the link if you’re interested.

Screensavers: Screensavers should be 600×800.  Screensavers go into the “My Screensavers” folder.  Screensaver images MUST reside in a sub-folder.  For example, you just can’t drop a bunch of pictures of your kids into the screensavers folder; you must create a sub-folder (I called mine “kids” and dropped the images into the subfolder). /nook/my screensavers/kids/(images here).

Wallpapers: Wallpapers should be 600×760 (accounts for the status bar on top). If you use a 600×800 wallpaper, it will scale down and you’ll get black bars on the sides.  Loading them is very easy.  Just drag and drop to the “My Wallpapers” folder.  No need to use sub-folders here.  Also, you do NOT need to change your color images to black and white.  Use your color images and the nook will display them in 16 shades of gray.

Calibre:  Using the donationware program Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) I downloaded CNN for today and it was installed to “My Documents.”  Works great and is a nice way to get news onto the nook.  As of version 0.6.27, Calibre supports the nook but it shows up as a Sony eReader.  I’m hoping a future update to Calibre will fix it.

Two nooks, one account:  We are now a two nook family.  The lending feature seemed gimmicky to me so we decided to link both of our nooks to one account.  I actually created a new gmail account and set up filters to forward anything sent to both of our email addresses.  The nook does NOT have “Whispersync” like the Kindle.  So, we can both read the same book simultaneously and not have to worry about reading at the same pace.

I’ll update as I spend more time with my nook.  Post questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.
  1. sporked says:

    Hi there – I’m a nook owner and am very curious about adding another nook to my library. Did you have to do anything to trick bn.com into letting this happen?


  2. John A. Atilano II says:

    Hi sporked, I created a gmail account specifically for our nooks. I used this email address as my registration address for bn.com. I registered both nooks under this account as well. Now, no matter who buys a book (me or my wife) and no matter where it is purchased (her computer, her nook, my computer, my nook) it is automatically downloaded to both nooks. Works perfectly.


  3. sporked says:

    very very cool. In that case, i suspect we will be getting a second nook in the near future. Right now, the husband is accessing my Library via his iphone.


  4. John A. Atilano II says:

    One other thing I did on the "nook" gmail account is to set up a rule to autoforward messages to both mine and my wife’s regular email accounts. Works great for tracking purchases.


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